So tonight’s Academy Awards scorecard for independent films were 7 major Oscars, including the 19th Best Picture of the past 30 years for non-studio movies. The Independent Film & Television Alliance compiled this list: Best Picture: The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co); Best Director: Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter (The Weinstein Co distributing internationally), Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter (The Weinstein Co), Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Foreign Language Film: In A Better World, Denmark (Nordisk Film).
Ever since the British Academy of Film and Television Arts several years ago moved their honors ceremony to coincide with Hollywood’s awards season, it’s been hit and miss as a predictor of the Oscars. Even though there is probably a crossover of about 600 members in both organizations. This year’s results giving a near-sweep, but very significantly not complete sweep, to hometown favorite The King’s Speech did little to change the status of that film’s Oscar chances in certain key categories. It already is the frontrunner for Best Picture, and for Colin Firth as Best Actor, and for David Seidler’s Best Original Screenplay. So tonight’s BAFTA wins just add to the pile of its big Hollywood Guild wins here.
In the Supporting categories winner, Helena Bonham Carter did not have to contend with Oscar frontrunners Melissa Leo and Hailee Steinfeld who weren’t nominated by BAFTA. (Steinfeld was competing in lead while Leo was snubbed.) And the absent Geoffrey Rush’s triumph over Oscar frontrunner Christian Bale also was not surprising since The Fighter found little support in overall BAFTA nominations.
But DGA winner Tom Hooper’s loss here to The Social Network’s David Fincher is intriguing. It could mean voters may be thinking about a split ballot. The facebook origins film also won Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin as well as defeated The King’s Speech in the ever-significant Film Editing category, too. That means both films collected exactly half of their BAFTA nomination total with TKS garnering 7 out …
As he walked into the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel earlier this afternoon, The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper looked around and said, “Now I guess it’s really happening. I really am a nominee.” This was a sentiment shared by more than a few who may have thought Oscar night came three weeks early as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hauled out the giant Oscar statues and threw their 30th Annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon today. Clearly proud of the turnout (some nominees came from around the world to be there), Academy President Tom Sherak said a record 151 out of the 190 favored few showed up to lunch with fellow awardees and Academy officials as well as to receive their official certificate of nomination and the traditional sweatshirt with an Oscar logo on it. Sherak told the crowd that, after enduring months of pre-Oscar events and other awards shows, “the hardest thing you will have to do here is step on a riser and have your picture taken.” It’s definitely the feel-good event of the awards season. Everyone leaves still a winner with none of the tension of Oscar night.
Shortly after the lunch started, the Academy’s Ric Robertson called on every nominee to go to the risers at the side of the room and line up for the class photo. Then he called out each one’s name to receive their certificate and take another photo with Sherak. Christopher Nolan interrupted his day of …
LOS ANGELES, CA: The 63rd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards were held tonight at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Only 6 times has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award for Best Director (1968/Carol Reed for Oliver!; 1972/Bob Fosse for Cabaret; 1985/Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa; 1995/Mel Gibson for Braveheart); 2000/Steven Soderbergh for Traffic; 2002/Roman Polanski for The Pianist) Here are the winners (in progress):
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2010:
TOM HOOPER, The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Hooper’s Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Erica Bensly
First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling
This is Hooper’s first DGA Feature Film Award Nomination. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Movies for Television/Miniseries for John Adams in 2008.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 2010:
CHARLES FERGUSON, Inside Job
Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics
This is Ferguson’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for 2010:
MICK JACKSON, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Jackson’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Scott Ferguson
First Assistant Director: Philip Hardage
Second Assistant Director: Shawn Pipkin
Second Second Assistant Director: Kayse Goodell and Richard E. Chapla Jr.
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Glen Moorman
This is Jackson’s fourth DGA Award nomination. He is a three-time winner of the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series with Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995), Tuesdays With Morrie (1999), and Live From Baghdad (2002).
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for 2010:
MARTIN SCORSESE, Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Scorsese’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Takahide Kawakami
Second Second Assistant Director: Patrick McDonald
Additional Second Assistant Director: Sal Sutera DGA Trainee: Jamiyl Ihsaan Campbell
This is Scorsese’s eighth DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature film in 2006 for The Departed, and was previously nominated in that category for Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Aviator (2004). In 1999 Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala and he won the DGA’s highest artistic honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award (for distinguished achievement in film direction) in 2003.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for 2010:
MICHAEL SPILLER, Modern Family, “Halloween” (ABC)
Spiller’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Sally Young
First Assistant Director: Alisa Statman
Second Assistant Director: Helena Lamb
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew Heffernan
This is Spiller’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety for 2010:
GLENN WEISS, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Weiss’ Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Gregg Gelfand, Robin Abrams, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Dean Gordon, Phyllis Digilio Kent, Arthur Lewis, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elyse Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
This is Weiss’ seventh DGA Award nomination. He won the Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety in 2007 for The 61st Annual Tony Awards; and was previously nominated in this category in 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002 and 2001 all for the 62nd, 60th, 59th, 56th and 55th Annual Tony Awards.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs for 2010:
EYTAN KELLER, The Next Iron Chef, “Episode #301” (Food Network)
Keller’s Directorial Team:
Segment Director: Stephen Kroopnick
Stage Managers: Tom Borgnine, Seth Mellman
This is Keller’s second DGA Award Nomination. He was previously nominated in this same category in 2009 for episode “201” of The Next Iron Chef.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials for 2010:
LARRY CARPENTER, One Life to Live, “Episode #10,687” (ABC)
Carpenter’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Tracy Casper Lang, Teresa Anne Cicala, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Jen Pepperman
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer
Production Associates: Nathalie Rodriguez, Kevin Brush
This is Carpenter’s seventh DGA Award nomination and all for his direction of One Life to Live. He won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials Award for One Life to Live – “Episode #9947″ in 2007, for “Episode #8849″ in 2003, and for “So You Think You Can Be Shane Morasco’s Father” in 2008. He was previously nominated for that series for “Episode #9686″ in 2006, “Episode #9385″ in 2005 and “Episode #8655″ in 2002.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for 2010:
ERIC BROSS, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)
This is Bross’ first DGA Award nomination.
Parties, private screenings, Q&As and the first movie awards show of the season all in the span of 24 hours. It all proves we’re in full swing with just four months to go before the Oscars. The 14th Annual Hollywood Awards Gala drew an impressive star turnout Monday evening at the Beverly Hilton, the same room where the Golden Globes get handed out in about 2 months. I’ve often said that if the Globes are a good place to try out your Oscar speech then The Hollywood Awards are a good place to try out your Globes speech. And a long list of honorees did just that, including Robert Duvall (Actor), Annette Bening (Actress), Helena Bonham Carter (Supporting Actress), Sam Rockwell (Supporting Actor), Danny Boyle and Christian Colson (Producers – 127 Hours), Tom Hooper (Director — The King’s Speech), Aaron Sorkin (Screenwriter – The Social Network), Lee Unkrich (Animated Feature – Toy Story 3), plus plenty of below the line crafts winners, acting breakthrough awards, a career achievement honor to Sly Stallone and a humanitarian award for Sean Penn. These trophies are all negotiated with distributors and publicists who promise to buy a table and a program ad and deliver their honoree in person in return for a lot of free red carpet exposure and a shot at giving an acceptance speech in front of a smattering of industry types and several Academy voters. The event isn’t televised, but there was certainly enough star power to support a broadcast. No one really takes it seriously except as an early opportunity to trot out your contenders in hopes of moving then up a peg in the marathon race to Oscar. This is the place awards watchers get to hear speeches for the first time. There’s even a live band on stage playing corny awards show music. First time attendee Aaron Eckhart, who presented to Bonham Carter, told me he thought it was a lot of fun. It’s a warm-up, the equivalent of spring training.
This year’s AFI Festival will host an ensemble tribute to The King’s Speech, with director Tom Hooper and stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The festival has also made its Centerpiece Gala selections, including director Diego Luna’s Abel, George Hickenlooper’s Casino Jack and John Wells’ The Company Men, along with Barney’s Version and Blue Valentine. Also newly slated are several special screenings, including the U.S. premiere of John Sayles’ Amigo, Werner Herzog’s 3D Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole and Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham. The festival takes place November 4-11 in Hollywood and has already announced that Love & Other Drugs will be the opening night film and Black Swan will serve as the closing night selection. David Lynch serves as the festival’s artistic director.
After the Tom Hooper-directed Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush film The King’s Speech came out of Toronto with strong Oscar buzz, United Talent Agency swooped in to sign the pic’s writer, David Seidler. It’s not unusual for the scribes of Oscar-bait film to get snapped up by major agencies. But Seidler is no flash in the pan. He’s 73 years old, and the effort to make the film dates back to before many of today’s top screenwriters were born. His script –covering King George VI’s race to overcome a stutter so he could rally his subjects in radio broadcasts as England fought Hitler’s invading forces in WWII–was subject matter that is woven through Seidler’s own life. While an eloquent speaker now, Seidler developed a debilitating childhood stutter he attributes to the shock of those early days of WWII. “I was a profound stutterer as a kid, and though we relocated to the US after the Battle of Dunkirk, it was the trauma of hearing the guns and bombs from that battle that triggered it. I could barely talk at times, but as the war progressed, we were allowed to listen to the radio and the King of England. He spoke badly, but I thought my goodness, if a king can be brave enough to speak like that on the radio, maybe there’s hope for me. He was always a hero to me.”
Years later, after Seidler finished the 1988 Francis Coppola-directed Tucker: The …
A Toronto International Film Festival that will be best remembered for the comeback of the independent acquisitions marketplace culminated today in festival awards. The Tom Hooper-directed The King’s Speech was awarded the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, which is the festival’s audience award, based on ballots collected after each screening. The picture, which stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, came in with The Weinstein Company as a distributor, and leaves the festival a bonafide Oscar season contender. Runner-up for the audience prize was the Justin Chadwick-directed First Grader.
The Prize of the International Critics for the Discovery program went to director Shawn Ku for Beautiful Boy, a searing drama that stars Michael Sheen and Maria Bello as estranged parents of a college student who goes on a murderous campus rampage before committing suicide. The parents go through stages of guilt and denial as they attempt to process an unimaginable tragedy. Said the jury: “This film shows its audience that in a world of chaos and insanity, humanity is the only key to life.”
The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature went to Denis Villeneuve for Incendies, a wrenching drama about immigration and war. The award carries a cash prize of $30,000 but more importantly for Villeneuve, …
Over the course of its four days, the Telluride Film Festival has certainly become a key early player in setting at least part of the table for Hollywood’s awards season. I have seen numerous Academy voting members wandering in and out of the state-of-the-art screening venues around town getting an early look at some films certain to be contenders — and some that clearly won’t. Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (American Beauty), this year’s co-producer (with Don Mischer) of the Oscars, has even come here to check out potential movies he will likely be showcasing come February 27th and was lining up all day long soaking up the cinema. At last week’s Emmys he was frequently caught on camera in the booth during the show (which Mischer also produced) so I asked him what he learned from that experience. “Fast. Fast. Faster,” was his instant answer expressing the reality that you gotta keep the show moving like a speeding train. He’s infectiously enthusiastic about the task he’s been given this year and at Sunday night’s festival party was already talking up possibilities for musical numbers from films he’s seeing. “Of course we have to see what the actual nominees are going to be first,” he laughed. Minor detail.
One film strongly Oscar-buzzed at that party, on the gondolas and just about everywhere you go in Telluride this weekend is The King’s Speech, The Weinstein Company’s historical drama about King George VI’s stuttering problems and his relationship with the Australian speech therapist who gave him strength and ultimately a lifelong friendship. It was unveiled to one of this fest’s rare standing ovations for the first time anywhere here this weekend. Colin Firth is George and Geoffrey Rush is the therapist in director Tom Hooper’s outstanding film that can count on major awards love after it opens this Thanksgiving holiday, at least if the praise Telluriders are giving it is any indication.
One person leaving Monday’s screening said, “It makes up for all the bleakness,” referring to the great number of dark films showing at this year’s fest. Both stars and Hooper were surrounded by well-wishers at last night’s packed party. Firth and Rush are sure-thing nominees and the film itself is a strong Best Picture prospect to say the least. Harvey’s back in the Oscar game with this one, no doubt.
Firth was the subject of packed major tributes here Sunday night and Monday morning. (At this fest, the honoree gets feted twice.) “That’s something I’m genuinely not ready for. I don’t know what that’s gonna be like,” he said referring to the double dose of love when we sat down for a pre-first tribute interview. He says his virgin Telluride experience has been extremely gratifying in every way. “It feels more like a community than a festival, It’s not a market or a press-feeding frenzy. It’s so pure. This one seems to be just for the love of film. It doesn’t get better,” he says. Firth notes he and Rush have been stopped everywhere, getting applauded in bars and restaurants or just crossing the street. Telluride is certainly providing the actor a nice ego boost, if nothing else, but he’s genuinely thrilled to see the reaction to his performance.
Art imitates life as two of the Fox acting dynasty act together for the first time on the big screen in Madonna’s W.E. film. James Fox (Sherlock Holmes) plays King George V, while his real-life son Laurence plays unwilling heir-to-the-throne Bertie. Shooting has just begun on location in England, France and the US.
W.E is a Julie & Julia-style story switching between the past and the present. Abbie Cornish stars as a young married New Yorker in 1998, obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate romantic love story: Edward VIII’s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. Andrea Riseborough plays Simpson and James D’Arcy, Edward.
It’s a project Madonna has been developing for a long time. The pop star has written the script herself with Alek Keshishian, who directed her in documentary In Bed With Madonna. One early version had a 70-year-old Mrs Simpson swaying to the Sex Pistols with her pet dogs.
Madonna’s first choices for Edward and Mrs Simpson — Ewan McGregor and Vera Farmiga — both abdicated from the project.
Two of Britain’s best-liked producers are working on W.E. Colin Vaines (Coriolanus) is producing, with Kris Tykier (Kick-Ass) executive producing. It has been reported that David Parfitt was going to produce alongside Vaines, but that he just couldn’t handle Her Madgeness. Parfitt assures me this isn’t true. The reason he dropped out was because of a scheduling conflict with his own feature, My Week With Marilyn, which starts prep next month.